DJ Stout: Big Texas, a sense of place

Pentagram partner and graphic designer DJ Stout believes that designers should retain a sense of place in order to be relevant in a global context.

Playing up some of the clichés associated with Texas, imparticular the image of the cowboy, has often been a theme in this Pentagram partner and graphic designer's work.

My grandpa was a Texas storyteller. I would sit on his lap and he would tell me Texas tell-tales some of which would be true. He used to read me The Book of Cowboys and this book has inspired me throughout my career and I have designed over a hundred books. The book has these big beautiful full-colour illustrations that I would look at for hours. It also had these wonderful little drawings in the margin that have found their way into my work, he says. 

In his presentation at Design Indaba Conference 2014 he specifically used images of cowboys, short films and cowboy poetry to subvert this Texas cliché. He also collaborated with fellow Texan and composer, Graham Reynolds to score the whole presentation leaving the audience with not only a visual but also auditory impression of the state. 

Sense of place is so important to graphic designers. If you don't pay attention to where you're from, then you get lost in trying to be global, he says.

Watch the Talk with DJ Stout